When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. (Galatians 4:4-5)
Waiting, waiting, waiting. The years had ticked by so slowly. And still they were waiting. God had said the Messiah would come; but still they waited. Of course, many became weary and gave up, or adopted their own agendas. Some became revolutionaries (like the Zealots), seeking to bring God’s kingdom by force; others pursued legalistic righteousness (like the Pharisees), trying to pave the way. But for the handful of truly faithful, the waiting was at last over. “The time had fully come”; God’s plan of salvation was about to burst onto the scene. Except the plan was not a plan; the plan was a person.
But as the promised Messiah arrived, it was not how people expected. For him, no glorious palace and luxurious cradle; but rather, a humble (and no doubt smelly) stable with a feeding trough from which the animals had just been shooed away. And yet, through the Spirit, some just knew Who this was: the Savior!
Shepherds – working-class men of the time – were the first to hear of His arrival and to join in with the angelic thanksgiving. At the other end of the social scale were the Persian astrologers, wealthy intellectuals of their day, who also came to acknowledge the arrival of the King of Kings with their worship and their gifts. When Jesus was six weeks old and was taken by His parents to the temple, two others added their testimony. Simeon, stirred by the Spirit, went there just as they arrived. Seeing Jesus, he just knew that this was the One they had been expecting for so long. He took Him in his arms and thanked God that “my eyes have seen your salvation” (Luke 2:30). And then a godly prophetess, Anna, came and “gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38). At last, the Savior was here!
As we approach Christmas, let’s not lose sight of the very heart of this festival: He’s come! May our preparations and celebrations focus on this amazing fact.
The Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. (1 John 4:14)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont
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